Saturday, April 13, 2013

NO, IT'S NOT A HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY SEQUEL: 42 is an exceedingly well-crafted film--yes, you can see the blueprint, but it's such a darn effective one that it works.  Indeed, it's probably got our first Oscar contender of the year in Harrison Ford, who actually gets to act for the first time in a long time as Branch Rickey.  There are a bunch of other fine performances from H!ITG!'s as well, most notably Alan Tudyk being cast wildly against type as the racist manager of the Phillies, and John C. McGinley as the Dodgers' radio voice. 

The film's so old-fashioned that there's almost nothing objectionable in it with one glaring exception.  The n-word is dropped, regularly--indeed, there's a scene where Tudyk attempts to unnerve Robinson by chanting it from the dugout while he's at bat and one in which a child shouts it at Robinson.  The movie is rated PG-13 for "thematic elements, including language," but wow, that was harsh to watch.


  1. Marsha9:59 AM

    Trying to decide if I can take my 8 year old kid, who has read several books on Robinson and knows about racism and the n-word. (Yes, this is the one who is scared of movies. Ignore that.) thoughts on whether this is ok for an 8 year old so long as I'm sitting next to him?

  2. There were definitely kids in that age range at the showing I went to last night. That said, the Tudyk scene (which is basically him chanting the n-word for a good minute and a half) was really hard to watch, even for me.

  3. Adam B.2:44 PM

    Carrie has told me it's kid-friendly, as long as they understand the importance of the words. Matt, I don't know how you can tell the story without the words.

  4. I tend to agree they're necessary in the context, but there is a scene (mild spoiler) where the crowd is chanting the n-word at Robinson and a kid, after hesitation, joins in the chant. It's a haunting moment about how prejudice is learned.

  5. Adlai5:13 PM

    This ticks so many boxes for me (of things I don't like). Historical drama? Check. Sports movie? Check. Hamhanded treatment of racism (based on reviews I've read)? Check.

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  8. Tosy and Cosh11:10 AM

    Wondering if it would be less intense for a kid though. Wouldn't that word have less power for at least many eight-year olds?

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  10. Adam B.2:23 PM

    Lucy saw it last night and loved it (I lost the coinflip to my mom and drew The Croods with Phoebe), not knowing much about the story coming it.

  11. sconstant5:57 PM

    Can I twitchily say that a HHGG sequel would be called 43, not 42? Sorry, just can't help it.

  12. Mr. Cosmo9:30 PM

    They have to be carefully taught.